The pre-election gutting of the gambling bill, reducing the envisaged number of "super casinos" from eight to one, was a blow to football clubs that had been pinning their hopes on a new source of revenue.

Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd, who wants to build a gaming palace with MGM Mirage next to St James' Park, was exercised that Blackpool appeared to be the favoured site for a regional casino.

"Why Blackpool and why not Newcastle?" Shepherd fumed. "Blackpool is a fun place, but so is Newcastle. We have the infrastructure here and lots of Labour voters here as well."

Mark Fenoughty, Sheffield United's finance director, said: "Of course, it is a setback, but we do not really know what it means until the detail comes out." Sheffield United is one of five clubs that has been in talks with Las Vegas Sands, the US casino operators. The others are Rangers, West Ham United, Birmingham City and Manchester United.

Arsenal, Manchester City, Leeds United, Coventry City and Gillingham have also shown an interest in casinos.

Dan Jones, a partner in Deloitte's sports business group, said casinos made sense for clubs that wanted to get non-matchday use from their grounds. But he did not believe that they were fundamental to any club's business plan.

Scooped by itself

GP Capital and Bullhound, two technology focused research and investment groups, inadvertently announced their merger yesterday when over-zealous website managers published details on the GP site several days earlier than planned.

Martin Smith, investment banker and English National Opera chairman, will join as chairman. The enlarged group hopes to take advantage of increased investor interest in the technology sector as valuations improve. But to maintain credibility, it will have to ensure that its internet technology doesn't run ahead of itself again.

Generally dynamic

In the past, Financial Dynamics has been better known for the number, rather than the size, of the M&A deals on which it acted as financial PR adviser. In 2004, it topped the volume league tables compiled by Mergermarket.

In the first quarter of this year, however, Financial Dynamics has not only kept that pole position in the UK and Europe but grabbed the top places by value as well. Among its clients involved in big deals during the quarter were Aviva, British Vita, Aggregate Industries, Geest and Warner Chilcott.

Diageo keeps cool

It was Allied Domecq that objected to sharing Goldman Sachs with Diageo rather than the other way round,as Mudlark incorrectly reported yesterday. Diageo was aware that Goldman advised Allied Domecq but went ahead and appointed it as joint broker after receiving written assurances that there was no conflict of interest. Allied obviously thought otherwise.

Bad news in convoy

Shares in MKM Group fell by 13 per cent yesterday after the travel promotions company said it would show a "substantial loss" for the year that ended on March 31. Separately, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld complaints against MKM and Express Newspapers over an ill-fated cruise promotion. The ASA said MKM had been slow to contact participants at each stage of the promotion and many complainants had received no response, or delayed responses, to letters and telephone calls to the Daily Express and MKM.

Auld ones are best

Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, has been called a hard-nosed Scot who prefers to bulldoze rather than compromise.

But this week in Brussels, home to many of those he has antagonised, he charmed an audience with an acerbic comic turn.

Ribbing his hosts, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, Tweedie recalled the first Scot who stood back to admire the divine bounty of lochs, glens and whisky. "He said: 'Lord, how can you give all this to one country. There must be a downside.' And the Lord said: 'Wait till you see who we've given you for neighbours.'"

Tweedie also decried the leeway companies have on calculating reported profits: "As a Scot, I have always likened the bottom line to a haggis: if you knew what was in it, you wouldn't touch it with a barge pole."

Not waving . . .

The first International Reinsurance Summit will be held next month, apparently with no irony intended, at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.

. . . but freezing

An e-mail from the MCC heralds the start of the cricket season: "Despite the weather forecast for snow this weekend, the first match at Lord's starts this Friday at 11am."

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